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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

X88                             THE GAY GENIUS

ing his expenditure. This is how he told the story in a letter to Chin
Kuan: "Li Chang has been here and we spent a few good days
together, during which he never stopped mentioning your name. I
have not received any letter from Sun Chueh. I suppose he is busy.

. . On my arrival at Huangchow, my salary was cut off, and I have
such a big family to support. I am now compelled to practise the
greatest economy. I allow myself to spend only 150 cash [roughly
fifteen cents j a day. On the first of every month I take 4,500 cash and
apportion them into even lots, and suspend these individual strings of
cash on the ceiling. Every morning I take one string down by means
of the hook used for hanging up paintings, and put away the hook
for the day. Then I provide a large bamboo section, in which I save
up what is left over for the day, with which I can entertain my friends.
This is the method of Yunlao [Chia Shou]. In this Way, I figure
my money will last for a year. I shall think of some way to provide
for the family when it's all used up. ... I don't have to worry ahead.
For this reason I haven't a single care in my breast."

From Linkao House he could see the beautiful mountains of
Wuchang across the river. Sometimes he went out in sandals and
hired a small boat to spend the day in the company of fishermen and
wood-cutters. Often he was pushed around and abused by drunkards
and "felt happy" that he was "beginning to be unknown". Sometimes
he visited Wang Tsiyu, his friend from Szechuen, who lived across
the river. Often, when he was held up by a storm, he stopped over at
his place for several days. Sometimes he took a small boat and went
straight to Pan Ping's wine shop at Fankow. The village wine, ta
found, was not so bad. The district grew oranges and persimmons ana
taros more than a foot long. A bushel of rice was only twenty cash
because transportation on the river was cheap. Mutton here tasted just
as good as pork and beef in the north. Venison" was very cheap, and
fish and crabs cost almost nothing. The director of the wine bureau
of Chiting kept a very big library, and liked to lend people his books.
The magistrates had good cooks and often invited him to their homes.

In 1081 Su Tungpo became a real farmer. He began to work a piece
of land on the Eastern Slope (Tungpo), and to call himself "dj£.
Recluse of the Eastern Slope". He had wanted to retire to a farm, but
he had not expected to be compelled to be a farmer in this way. In
his preface to the Eight Poems on the Eastern Slope he said: "In the
second year of my stay at Huangchow, my money was running out.
My old friend Ma Mcngteh was worried for me, and obtained from
the district government a grant of land, about eight or ten acres, on the
location of an abandoned barracks. This enabled me to live there as a
farmer. The land had been abandoned and was full of brambles and